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THE SUPINENESS 

OF THE 

North Carolina Historical Association 

AND THE 

IGNORANCE 

OF THE 
North Carolina Society of Colonial Dames 

It has been heralded through the papers that the Historical Commission 
has granted the Colonia^l Dames the privilege of placing a Tablet in the 
Rotiuida in the State Capitol bearing the following inscription: 

In Commemoration 

of the 

Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence 
May 20, 1775, 
And the Twenty-Seven Signers 



Erected by the 
North Carolina Society of Colonial Dames 
of America 
1912 

It is quite evident that the Colonial Dames as a Society are not ac- 
quainted with the facts but only responded to the patriotic appeal of the 
Charlotte Colonial Dames. 

It is a well-known fact that every unbiased investigator of the question 
in the past twenty years has repudiated the so-called Declaration of May 
20th, but on the other hand emphasized that the Resolves of May 31st, 
which practically consituted a Declaration of Independence and were 
generally so known, is the only document that can he proven. 



Furthermore the Resolves of May 31st is a statesmanlike document, 
positive and specific in its utterances and patriotic in its spirit; whilst the 
so-called Declaration of May 20th would have been a foolish performance 
in the extreme and grossly inconsistent. 

The two Documents are so totally unlike, that the mere difference of 
eleven days in the date would be inconsequental were they not so dissimilar. 

The following North Carolina scholars have repudiated the May 20th 
Myth, but accept the Resolves of May 31st as the only Document that can 
be proven. 

Prof. R. D. W. Connor, Historian Dr. E. W. Sykes Historian 



Capt. S. A. Ashe 
Dr. S. B. Weeks 

" Kemp P. Battle 

" J. S. Bassett 

" W. E. Dodd 

" J. G. De R. Hamilton 

" W. K. Boyd 

" C. L. Raper 



Dr. W. C. Smith 
Rt. Rev. J. B. Cheshire " 
Mr. M. De L. Haywood " 
Dr. Alderman Pres. U. Va. 

" Geo. T. Winston, Ex-Pres. U.N.C. 

" J. Y. Joyner, Supt. Ed. 

" J.I. Foust, Pres. State Normal 

" Chas. Lee Smith 



All these household names and many others have overthrown the 
Myth. 

The only names worthy of mention as historical students supporting 
May 20th are Dr. D. H. Hill, Pres. A. and M., and Dr. Geo. Graham, 
M.D., both of whom are descendents of so-called Signers, 

Without entering into a discussion of the merits of this controversy, as 
space does not permit, is it not- strange that every unbiased historical 
scholar who has investigated this matter in the past twenty years has come 
to the same conclusion, viz., that May 20th is a Myth but the Resolves of 
May 31st are truly glorious and should be extolled. 

Certainly our Historical Commission and the Colonial Dames would 
do well to reconsider the placing of this Tablet as proposed, before they 
make themselves ridiculous because of their ignorance when the facts are 
so clearly available as they are to-day. 

Another joke on the Tablet and which this Historical Commission 
should save these ladies from perpetrating is "The Twenty-Seven Signers." 

By what evidence does any one know that there were any signatures 
attached to either one of these documents besides those of the Chairman 
and the Secretary. 

The folly of the "Twenty-Seven Signers" is so absurd that I will make 
this offer, viz.: I will pay ten dollars for every name which any one can 
prove was signed to either the so-called Declaration of May 20th or to the 
Resolves of May 31st, apart from those of the Chairman and the Secretary. 

Now here is a nice chance for some one to pick up Two Hundred and 
Fifty Dollars, and Pll leave it to the Historical Commission to decide as to 
whether the case is proven, on condition that the Professor of History 
from either University of N. C, Wake Forest, or Trinity, be added to the 
list of judges who are to determine the validity of the proof and also that 
their decision be rendered and the list of such Sip^ners be read as part of 
the unveiling exercises on May 20th. 



^J I am anxious to know who is going to be the proclaiming Orator^ of 

^ that occasion. I am confident it will not be any person who has won^his 
-^' spurs as a student of N. C. history and is thus respected because of his 
0^ fitness in historical research. 

^ It will not be, I'm sure, the Secretary of the Historical Commission, 

VMr. Connor, whose excellent service in that position has already given him 

v^^a high place in the historical annals of our State; but it will no doubt be 

'""some high-sounding phrase-maker, who will be flattered by the invitation 

and who will seek to flatter the fancy of his hearers and utter a lotjof vapid 

vaporings which will only have the lasting value of a one day notice in the 

newspapers. 

Who will be this brave man who must either betray his ignorance, 
stultify his intelligence or displease his audience? 

Let us have the simple truths of history. There is more than enough 
in that for us to feel proud about, without making ourselves ridiculous by 
claiming what we cannot prove. Besides, by this division at home we are 
discredited abroad about the whole matter. 

Therefore let everyone who prefers Truth and Justice to Prejudice 
and Error, protest against the absurd claims of a few ancestor worshippers 
and simple politicians who are holding up as a fetish this discarded Myth 
of May 20th. 

The joke is really on the Historical Commission for giving permission 
to "The Society of Colonial Dames" who are being directed by a .few pre- 
judiced and unteachable leaders. 

The placing of this Tablet will be a monument to the Supineness of the 
Historical Commission and to the ignorance and prejudice of the North 
Carolina Society of Colonial Dames and a constant testimony of the State's 
stupidity. 

For certainly if v/e desire our children to be taught to revere the 
truth the ultimate result of all this controversy must be the changing of the 
dates from May 20th to May 31st, 1775, on the State Seal; on the State 
Flag, on the monuments in Charlotte, and on this Tablet placed chiefly 
through the efforts of Charlotte people. 

I wonder how many of the Colonial Dames have ever read "The Meck- 
lenburg Declaration of Independence" written by William H. Hoyt, who has 
written and published the most able and authentic book covering every 
phase of this controversy. And also it would be interesting to know how 
many Colonial Dames have ever read Ashe's History of North Carolina, 
a work which is recognized by all the historical scholars as the best history 
of North Carolina that has yet appeared. Yet in this connection it may 
not be amiss to say that there are quite a number of schools professing to 
teach North Carolina History, that have been unable to spend Five Dollars 
for a copy of Ashe — but easily find the means to buy New England and 
other foreign written histories. 

The general ignorance about North Carolina History in most of our 
more intelligent and prosperous homes is one of the surprising facts that 
every student and publisher has had to contend with. 

I trust that a brighter day awaits us and that we will live more fully 
up to our motto: "ESSE QUAM VIDERI." 

CHARLES L. Van NOPPEN, 

(•reensboro, N. C. 



THE SUPINENESS 

OF THE 

North Carolina Historical Association 

AND THE 

IGNORANCE 

OF THE 
North Carolina Society of Colonial Dames 

It has been heralded through the papers that the Historical Commission 
has granted the Colonia-l Dames the privilege of placing a Tablet in the 
Rotunda in the State Capitol bearing the following inscription: 

In Commemoration 

of the 

Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence 
May 20, 1775, 
And the Twenty-Seven Signers 



• Erected by the 

North Carolina Society of Colonial Dames 
of America 
1912 

It is quite evident that the Colonial Dames as a Society are not ac- 
quainted with the facts but only responded to the patriotic appeal of the 
Charlotte Colonial Dames. 

It is a well-known fact that every unbiased investigator of the question 
in the past twenty years has repudiated the so-called Declaration of May 
20th, but on the other hand emphasized that the Resolves of May 31st, 
which practically consituted a Declaration of Independence and were 
generally so known, is the only document that can be proven. 



,^ 

yJzQ 

Furthermore the Resolves of May 31st is a statesmanUke document, 
positive and specific in its utterances and patriotic in its spirit; whilst the 
so-called Declaration of May 20th would have been a foolish performance 
in the extreme and grossly inconsistent. 

The two Documents are so totally unlike, that the mere difference of 
eleven days in the date would be inconsequental were they not so dissimilar. 

• The following North Carolina scholars have repudiated the May 20th 
Myth, but accept the Resolves of May 31st as the only Document that can 
be proven. 

Prof. R. D. W. Connor, Historian Dr. E. W. Sykes Historian 

Capt. S. A. Ashe " Dr. W. C. Smith 

Dr. S. B. Weeks " Rt. Rev. J. B. Cheshire " 

" Kemp P. Battle " Mr. M. De L. Ha>^vood " 

" j. S. Bassett " Dr. Alderman Pres. U. Va. 

" W. E. Dodd " " Geo. T. Winston, Ex-Pres. U.N.C. 

" J. G. De R. Hamilton " " J. Y. Joyner, Supt. Ed. 

" W. K. Boyd " " J- I- Foust, Pres. State Normal 

" C. L. Paper " " Chas. Lee Smith 

All these household names and many others have overthrown the 
Myth. 

The only names worthy of mention as historical students supporting 
May 20th are Dr. D. H. Hill, Pres. A. and M., and Dr. Geo. Graham, 
M.D., both of whom are descendents of so-called Signers. 

Without entering into a discussion of the merits of this controversy, as 
space does not permit, is it not strange that every unbiased historical 
scholar who has investigated this matter in the past twenty years has come 
to the same conclusion, viz., that May 20th is a Myth but the Resolves of 
May 31st are truly glorious and should be extolled. 

Certainly our Historical Commission and the Colonial Dames would 
do well to reconsider the placing of this Tablet as proposed, before they 
make themselves ridiculous because of their ignorance when the facts are 
so clearly available as they are to-day. 

Another joke on the Tablet and which this Historical Commission 
should save these ladies from perpetrating is "The Twenty-Seven Signers.'' 

By what evidence does any one know that there were any signatures 
attached to either one of these documents besides those of the Chairman 
and the Secretary. 

The folly of the "Twenty-Seven Signers" is so absurd that I will make 
this offer, viz.: I will pay ten dollars for every name which any one can 
prove was signed to either the so-called Declaration of May 20th or to the 
Resolves of May 31st, apart from those of the Chairman and the Secretary. 

Now here is a nice chance for somxC one to pick up Two Hundred and 
Fifty Dollars, and Pll leave it to the Historical Comm.ission to decide as to 
whether the case is proven, on condition that the Professor of History 
from either University of N. C, Wake Forest, or Trinity, be added to the 
list of judges who are to determine the validity of the proof and also that 
their decision be rendered and the list of such Signers be read as part of 
the unveiling exercises on May 20th. ; 



^~n 



4 

^ I am anxious to know who is going to be the proclaiming Orator of 
:^that occasion. I am confident it will not be any person who has won' his 
;.'spurs as a student of N. C. history and is thus respected because of his 
'fitness in historical research. 

'S- It will not be, I'm sure, the Secretary of the Historical Cornmission, 

WMr. Connor, whose excellent service in that position has already given him 

.a high place in the historical annals of our State-, but it will nodoubt be 

*"■' some high-sounding phrase-maker, who will be flattered by the invitation 

^ and who will seek to flatter the fancy of his hearers and utter a lotjof vapid 

vaporings which will only have the lasting value of a one day notice in the 

newspapers. 

Who will be this brave man who must either betray his ignorance, 
stultify his intelligence or displease his audience? 

Let us have the simple truths of history. There is more than enough 
in that for us to feel proud about, without making ourselves ridiculous by 
claiming what we cannot prove. Besides, by this division at home we are 
discredited abroad about the whole matter. 

Therefore let everyone who prefers Truth and Justice to Prejudice 
and Error, protest against the absurd claims of a fev/ ancestor worshippers 
and simple politicians who are holding up as a fetish this discarded Myth 
of May 20th. 

The joke is really on the Historical Commission for giving permission 
to "The Society of Colonial Dames" who are being directed by a .few pre- 
judiced and unteachable leaders. 

The placing of this Tablet will be a monument to the Supineness of the 
Historical Commission and to the ignorance and prejudice of the North 
Carolina Society of Colonial Dames and a constant testimony of the State's 
stupidity. 

For certainly if we desire our children to be taught to revere the 
truth the ultimate result of all this controversy must be the changing of the 
dates from May 20th to May 31st, 1775, on the State Seal; on the State 
Flag, on the monuments in Charlotte, and on this Tablet placed chiefly 
through the efforts of Charlotte people. 

I wonder how many of the Colonial Dames have ever read "The Meck- 
lenburg Declaration of Independence" written by William H. Koyt, who has 
written and published the most able and authentic book covering every 
phase of this controversy. And also it would be interesting to know how 
many Colonial Dames have ever read Ashe's History of North Carolina, 
a work which is recognized by all the historical scholars as the best history 
of North Carolina that has yet appeared. Yet in this connection it may 
not be amiss to say that there are quite a number of schools professing to 
teach North Carolina History, that have been unable to spend Five Dollars 
for a copy of Ashe — but easily find the means to buy New England and 
other foreign written histories. 

The general ignorance about North Carolina History in most of our 
more intelligent and prosperous homes is one of the surprising facts that 
every student and publisher has ha,d to contend with. 

I trust that a brighter day awaits us and that we will live more fully 
up to our motto: "ESSE QUAM VIDERI." 

CHARLES L. Van NOPPEN, 

Crccnsboro, N. C. 



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I/la/, ; 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 




011 801 937 4 



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